Apparently low-scoring, high-saving is the new normal for games featuring Craig Anderson. He finished with 31 saves in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, a save total matched by Cam Ward.
The game didn’t start off well for Senators fans. A giveaway off the opening faceoff gave defenceman Jaccob Slavin the chance to skate in and fire a backhander bar-down for a lead just 30 seconds into the game. After back-to-back shutouts, it seemed Andy was heading back to his season-opening form. But he held the fort, and he needed to, as the Sens were outshot 14-1 to start the period. But Ottawa would claw back a couple scoring chances, and would score on a bullet from Dion Phaneuf that showed that he can still shoot the puck at an elite level. Other than the 16-5 shot line, the first period was also notable for 5:43 of it being played 4-on-4 thanks to two sets of offsetting minors, and a Derick Brassard penalty early into a Sens powerplay.
The second period would see the dominant team switch, as the Sens pounded 15 on net compared to the Canes’ 6. It was all for naught though, as Ward had found his Conn Smythe form, and turned everything aside. It set up a tense third period.
To my eyes, the Sens had the better run of play in the third period, but it was pretty even. Both teams had decent chances to take the lead, and both goalies stood tall. It really looked like it was going to come down to which team could produce a bit of magic. And neither team could in regulation.
Overtime again seemed to be tipped slightly in the Sens’ favour for me. Ottawa seemed to dictate most of the flow, and eventually they were rewarded with Kyle Turris streaking into the zone and firing a beautiful wrister to the corner through the screen of a defenceman. It was a goal we’ve seen him score so many times in the past, and it sealed the 2-1 victory for the Sens.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
He stopped 32 shots in a row for the W. After a shaky start to the season, he’s really settled in.
Honourable Mention: Derick Brassard
Other than the slashing penalty, he was having a great game, setting up plays, driving offence. He stood out to me.
Honourable Mention: Erik Karlsson
I don’t know how many times I saw him backcheck and break up the play with a quick takeaway and/or stick lift. The Fox Sports commentators seemed so surprised by his defensive play.
Glimmer of Hope: Cody Ceci
To my eyes, Ceci seemed decent in this game. He was solid past centre (as he often is), but he also seemed a little more certain in his own zone. This team really needs Ceci to improve to have any kind of hope, and I’ll take whatever small victories I can get.
Sens Zero: Giveaways
Officially, the teams tied in giveaways, 14-14. However, I felt like Ottawa’s were much more costly, and led to the team generating nothing in the first period. You can only give up the puck unforced in the neutral zone so many times before you get burned. Thankfully the burn didn’t come this game.
Sens Killer: Cam Ward
Ottawa has a habit of ending poor stretches of play for opposing goalies (Brian Elliott, anyone?). Ward fell into this category, but thankfully Ottawa’s goalie stood just as tall.